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Here's What You Need to Know About the New Kansas Mask Mandate

Photo by Scott Canon, Kansas News Service

Virtually everyone in Kansas is under an order to wear masks when they’re in public starting Friday.

Yet the executive order, officially issued by Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday, comes with exceptions.

You can take off a mask to eat at a restaurant, but you’ll need to be seated at least six feet away from other tables. Children 5 or younger don’t need to wear masks. Neither do adults with medical conditions, mental health problems or disabilities that make it problematic. Athletes in training won’t have to wear masks — as long as they maintain that six-foot distance from each other.

But counties have the power to adopt different rules — either more strict or effectively relaxing the mandate from Kelly. That power is the result of a compromise reached by Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor last month.

Politicians across the state, mostly conservative Republicans, have criticized the Democratic governor, saying the use of masks should be a choice.

Kansas has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. As of Thursday, the state had nearly 15,000 confirmed cases and 272 deaths.

The full order is here.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of Kansas Public Radio, KCUR, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to


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